introducing a whole new way of working that would be significant cultural change for the company. Employees would have the freedom to work wherever they wanted, depending on their needs at any particular time – this office model recognises that one size doesn’t fit all.” Architect Abbie Galvin of BVN Donovan Hill Architecture says the new building provided a large floorplate over two levels that allowed for flexible planning to accommodate the required elements. There were also large windows to bring in natural light to most areas. “Charter Hall proposed a collaborative floor on the upper level and a focus floor on the lower level, with some crossover,” Galvin says. “We introduced a new generous stairway to physically and visually link the floors and to provide transparency and connection throughout the office. “Essentially, we removed two structural bays and wrapped the soffits at the edges of the void with mirror panels. These reflect the parts of the office you can’t see. We also added mirror panels to the ceiling, almost like a series of frescoes. These reference the company logo and give the entire space a little sparkle, creating an uplifting environment.” Creating a warm, welcoming office was crucial, for employees and visitors. Everyone entering the office arrives at the upper level where there is a concierge, not a reception desk. 90 SEARCH | SAVE | SHARE AT trendsideas.com “The traditional barriers have been removed,” says Galvin. “When you come into the office, you are not confronted with a guard house – instead you immediately feel part of the Charter Hall hub. And the whole office is on view, and activated, so it is a very dynamic environment.” This animation is enhanced by a clear glass box accommodating a meeting room that appears suspended above the void. The team calls this The Lookout. Another active part of the office is an elevated timber platform that runs the length of the building beside the windows. This is a collaborative area known as The Deck, where staff can meet and connect both formally and informally. The tables can be grouped or moved aside to create a large space for social gatherings. Because the platform is stepped up from the main office, it retains a sense of separation without being cut off from the rest of the interior. “This is very much a town hall space,” Southon says. “It is used for our regular big breakfasts and drinks on a Friday, and it can be used for client events. It enhances the transparency of our business for our customers and stakeholders.” The lower floor presents a raft of different work environments, with employees able to sit or stand at workstations, sit at a table, in a lounge chair or in a lab space where the chairs are high and the Below:A raised timber platform, called The Deck, creates a collaborative zone that can be used for social events and informal meetings. Right:The Deck runs the length of the office beside the windows, ensuring the natural light and views are maximised.